Letter: No animals, no countryside

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Sir: These are stirring times in which to be a beef farmer and goodness knows we have enough trouble down on the farm without the likes of Danny Penman ("Man and beast", 18 November) emoting.

Has he never heard of the organic method of rearing animals? Does he really think that none of us care, on dark, cold mornings and long, hot days, for the beasts in our charge?

There are abused farm animals, but I should like to see a battery hen survive for a day after having its beak sliced off. Even hens raised quite unintensively have to have their top beak snipped with a cauteriser; anyone who knows the opportunistic, carnivorous nature of the beady-eyed fowl appreciates that this small operation is a necessary evil.

Vegetarian animal-righters come up with no solution as to what rural life would be about without farm animals. No milk without meat, and there would be no wheat without manure - unless one wants the rivers full of nitrates. Should farmhouses be full of computer firms and holidaymakers whose children look in vain for lambs in springtime?

PENELOPE REID

Wantage,

Oxfordshire

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